Yeah, this is happening.
Soppy and emotional and gushing.
But I need this, and I think you do too.
So stfu and listen.
I am currently on a ‘Facebook break’.
This happens from time to time as the daily fight gets too much and I find my patience wearing thin.
When I start being sarcastic or rude to people instead of understanding and informative, I know it’s time to take a break.
My stomach turns to knots whenever I receive a notification, I find myself short tempered with my children and glued to my phone.
‘Ok…’ I say to myself ‘This isn’t good for anyone. Put it down. Regroup. Come back when you are able to give it your best. This, is not your best.’
I still feel guilty.
I know it is valuable to take a break, it allows me to be a better activist and that is, therefore, much better for the animals.
It’s better for me to have the emotional energy to take someone through a conversation and really plant some seeds than it is for me to ruin the chances of them looking into veganism, at all, by making it about an argument between two individuals that we both want to ‘win’.
But I still feel guilty.
There are animals out there, right now, going through unimaginable pain and suffering and I am sitting here with a glass of wine, chilling out because I’ve had a tough month talking to people online.
That sounds pretty selfish.
That sounds pretty messed up.
But I am human.
This shit matters to me.
Because I care, I get emotionally involved.
Because I get emotionally involved, I get worn down.
Because of that I get frustrated.
This is all unavoidable because…
I am human.
I can’t help it.
So I allow myself this break.
It’s more than ok.
It’s fucking necessary.
I am writing this post for ALL activists out there.
You are all astounding human beings.
Well, you are vegan so… figures.
But seriously, people just don’t understand how draining this work is.
People miss the fact that this is one of the hardest ‘jobs’ in the world right now.
And it is so personal.
We are challenging society.
More than that…
We are challenging individuals.
By simply being the only vegan in your family, you are targeted, automatically.
It may be ‘just’ jokes and banter.
It may be actually falling out with those you love.
It may even ‘just’ be hearing ‘Well, I don’t have a problem with vegans but…’ – and feeling absolutely deflated because they are missing the crucial point.
It’s not about vegans.
It’s about animal abuse.
But it also has become personal now… because they are making it about you.
It hurts on so many levels.
We often get told by non-vegans that we are doing all this because we believe we are ‘superior’ in some way.
Of course we know we are not doing this for some kind of ‘badge of honor’ or pat on the back.
Any form of activism for any form of oppression is not for the individual to feel ‘good about themselves’.
It’s to change the world for the better.
Sure, we do feel good about not being a total butthole, who wouldn’t!?
We don’t contribute to animal suffering.
Who doesn’t feel good about that?
But honestly, I don’t know about you, but the amount of work we still have to do doesn’t make me feel good to be vegan.
Being vegan opens your eyes to the suffering in the world.
That doesn’t feel good.
That’s why we speak out.
That’s why we don’t shut up.
That’s why we don’t pat ourselves on the back.
Being vegan does not end the suffering.
Everyone else needs to go vegan before we can feel comfortable with congratulating ourselves.
But you know what?
You do deserve to be recognised.
Because it’s bloody hard.
That’s an understatement.
I see so many of you leaping into a pit of despair on a weekly basis and you still carry on the next day.
I know people who have had their marriage break down because of their partners lack of empathy and compassion.
Vegans are putting their ALL into this.
And you deserve to be seen.
To those new vegans ordering vegan options in-front of your friends.
You are bound to get the ‘Haha! Don’t tell me you’re a vegan now!?’ comments, and you know it, but you’re doing it anyway.
That takes guts.
To those new vegans putting a ‘vegan’ frame on your Facebook profile pic.
This is where I started.
Man oh man, I got a lot of attention for that!
I got into a few arguments and lost a few ‘friends’.
It’s not ‘just Facebook’… it’s a declaration that you know is going to attract argumentative people.
To anyone who comments support on a vegan post.
That shit goes out into the open!
Not only does it end up on your friend’s feed – ‘so-and-so commented on this’ – but it also provokes others to reply to your comment, and you have to deal with that.
Sometimes that starts a chain reaction and, before you know it, there are hundreds of strangers arguing with you and you are holding your own.
To all those who share vegan posts on your own timeline.
Eesh! It sucks when it gets no love.
You think ‘Woah, this is a good one, this will provoke some deep thinking!’ and then nothing but digital tumbleweed floats across the screen.
Where are all your friends?
Where is the love and support?
Trust me. People notice.
You have planted seeds whether it feels like it or not.
You are doing amazing things and you don’t even know it!
To all those sharing your vegan meals online.
This is where my activism journey began!
I got through to so many people this way!
You are doing great things.
A lot of people genuinely believe that vegan food is boring, so showing them just how much variety and deliciousness we get to chow down on every damn day is an amazing way to get through to people!
You got this!
To all those creating your own vegan activism posts.
That’s a lot of responsibility!
Any comments… not only on your post, but on any shares, are your burden to bare.
Have you got the wording just right?
Are you doing the animals justice?
Are you offending any other under-privileged groups?
So many thoughts race through your mind.
That is damn brave.
Thank you for speaking out and putting yourself on the line like that.
To all those who relentlessly share petitions.
G’wan wid yo bad self!
Do you realise how much you are doing?
Petitions are absolutely incredible at provoking change.
They do. So. Much.
You can sign and be one voice.
You can share and be 100 voices.
I appreciate you.
To all those wearing vegan messages in the form of vegan tee’s and badges.
Now this is brave.
It’s unavoidable. And that’s the point.
Now you are someone who needs to have their information down to a tee.
It’s you against them.
And I have absolute faith in you.
To all those attending vegan protests.
Sacrificing your time and energy, not to mention the cost.
Absolute respect to you.
Directly in the line of fire.
You know that.
You do it anyway.
I see you.
To all those getting out to do some outreach.
You have made so many people think about their choices.
You guys are not only out there, in person, confronting real people going about their everyday lives…
You are also in the YouTube videos and in the media, making a huge difference.
Showing people that it is not a small, individual person… It is a large group and a force to be reckoned with.
They begin to see that perhaps it’s time to listen.
It’s not a fad.
It’s a lifestyle that so many people are choosing, so there must be a reason behind it.
I salute you.
To all those joining in with hunt sabs.
Man alive you guys have immense strength!
I know that a lot of you have been injured as a result of what you do.
That isn’t something to skim over.
You put yourselves at risk to fight for innocent lives.
You have my absolute respect.
To all those attending animal saves and vigils etc.
What can I say?
All the most upsetting footage I have ever seen, footage that turned me and thousands of others like me, vegan, has been because of you.
You expose the truth that the most powerful people in our society spend millions on, trying to cover up.
Without you, there would be no vegan movement.
From the bottom of my heart.
To any of you who feel like you need to take a break now and then…
Though the vegan movement is the fastest growing social movement the world has ever seen… we are still a minority.
We need to support and look after each other.
You are AMAZING.
So give yourself a break.
You DO deserve it.
Don’t punish yourself for the actions of others.
You are doing so much more than you know.
Every. Single One of you.
I see you.
You matter too.